Health  Vol.10 No.4 , April 2018
Use of Research Evidence in Policy and Decision-Making: Views, Attitudes and Practices of Health Policy Makers in Lusaka Province of Zambia
Abstract: Background: The integration of relevant high-quality research evidence into the health decision and policy formulation process is a key strategy for improving health systems especially in developing countries such as Zambia. However, the lack of capacity to understand and value research evidence by policy and decision makers makes it difficult for them to find and use research evidence in a timely manner even when motivated to do so. This study aimed to establish the views, attitudes and practices of policy makers on the use of research evidence in policy and decision-making process in Zambia. Methodology: This descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted in Lusaka, Zambia among selected public health decision and policy making institutions. A purposive sample of 21 consenting policy makers who were working in different positions in the Ministry of Health Headquarters, Provincial and District Health Offices, Health Professions Regulatory Bodies, United Nations Agencies, International Non-Governmental Organizations and University Deans from the University of Zambia participated in the study. A self-administered questionnaire was used to collect data. The IBM? SPSS? Statistics for Windows Version 20.0 was used for data analysis. Results: The concept of Evidence Informed Health Policy was not well understood such that only less than half (47.5%) of the participants reported having heard specifically about Evidence Informed Health Policy meanwhile almost two thirds (61.9%) reported that they used research evidence in decision making and policy formulation. Similar discrepancy was expressed in the understanding of and use of rapid response mechanisms such that although (47.6%) of the participants reported having heard about it, (57%) had never used rapid response mechanisms for deci-sion-making. With regard to the sources of information, about half (52.3) of the participants reported scholarly articles as their main source of evidence. Con-clusion and Recommendations: There is need for more sensitization and ca-pacity building among the decision and policy makers on the importance of using research evidence in decision and policy making process as incorporation of relevant high-quality research evidence into the health policy making pro-cess is a key strategy for improving health systems.
Cite this paper: Katowa-Mukwato, P. , Mwape, L. , Siwale, M. , Musenge, E. and Maimbolwa, M. (2018) Use of Research Evidence in Policy and Decision-Making: Views, Attitudes and Practices of Health Policy Makers in Lusaka Province of Zambia. Health, 10, 502-515. doi: 10.4236/health.2018.104040.

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